In visit to Arizona, VP Harris rebukes Trump on abortion

Vice President Kamala Harris directly blamed former President Donald Trump for an abortion ban in Arizona during a campaign stop in Tucson Friday.  

The Biden-Harris campaign has sought to underscore the stakes of reproductive rights with the 2024 election, and draw a sharp contrast between President Biden and former President Donald Trump.  

The Arizona Supreme Court’s decision to allow a Civil War-era abortion ban to take effect put the issue front and center in the Southwestern swing state.  

“Donald Trump is the architect of this health care crisis,” Harris said. “That is not a fact, by the way, that he hides. In fact he brags about it. Just this week he said that he is ‘proudly’ the person responsible for overturning Roe. Proudly responsible for the pain and suffering of millions of women and families. Proudly responsible that he took your freedoms.”

“Here’s what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering, less freedom. But we are not going to let that happen,” Harris said.

Harris has taken a prominent role in sharing both the campaign and the White House’s message on the issue.  

Harris late last week made clear that the focus of this visit would be on reproductive rights, a pivot from an initial focus on student debt, according to a source familiar with the vice president’s plans.  

She visited Arizona last month as part of a reproductive freedoms tour that took her to several battleground states, after touring colleges.  

Harris has taken part in more than 80 official engagements since the overturn of Roe v. Wade. That includes meetings with state legislators and conversations with impacted patients and reproductive rights groups, as well as providers. She shared concerns over the potential impacts of the overturn of Roe on IVF and contraception going back to 2022, as courts now grapple with rulings on mifepristone and IVF.  

Trump, who touts the overturn of Roe v. Wade and his appointment of the Supreme Court justices who facilitated it, has recently said that Arizona went too far, while sharing a view that he supports states’ rights.  

“So now the Governor and the Arizona Legislature must use HEART, COMMON SENSE, and ACT IMMEDIATELY, to remedy what has happened. Remember, it is now up to the States and the Good Will of those that represent THE PEOPLE,” Trump wrote on Truth Social hours ahead of Harris’ stop.  

Trump has also said he would not sign a federal abortion ban if he were reelected. 

The Biden-Harris campaign, however, is launching a new media investment in Arizona focused on abortion rights, underscoring Trump’s record. The message notably features a direct-to-camera message from President Biden, who promises to “fight like hell” for reproductive freedom. The ad is expected to target younger, female, and Latino voters. 

Democrats see abortion as an issue that could sway independent and moderate voters.  

Biden narrowly won Arizona in 2020, but has trailed Trump in recent polls. The campaign hopes abortion will be a motivating factor to change the polls.

Biden-Harris 2024 campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez wrote in a memo on Monday, “Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, voters have turned out time and again to defend reproductive freedom.” She added, “Headed into the 2024 election, President Biden and Vice President Harris remain on the right side of voters when it comes to fighting back against extreme MAGA bans — including in the key states that will determine this election.” 

In Tucson, Harris spoke in front of state leaders, leaders of reproductive rights groups, patients and providers. Her remarks were livestreamed to supporters on a campaign-organizing call. Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff was expected to hold a conversation with allied young men on the sidelines of the event.  

Harris is also expected to focus on reproductive rights on the campaign trail when in Nevada next week, according to a campaign official.